Landscape protection brightens future for wind

A federal court judgement valuing clean electricity production higher than an absolute priority for landscape protection has given a welcome boost to Switzerland's struggling wind sector. The ruling arose from a dispute over the planned Crêt-Meuron wind station in the Neuenburg Jura region. Suisse Eole, the national wind association, says the court decision supports the positive views of the project expressed by the Neuenburg government, the local population and local World Wildlife Fund and ProNatura groups. It also overturns a previous, lower court ruling that backed the arguments of "a group of holiday home owners and a foundation for landscape protection," says Suisse Eole. The 12 MW project will generate enough electricity to meet the needs of some 15,000 people. Generation costs are put at EUR 0.095-0.13/kWh. The station will double Swiss wind power capacity from today's 11.25 MW spread over five sites.

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